A Little Night Music:
Stephen Sondheim's glorious romance in waltz-time about foolish lovers and a summer night that smiles is everything that made some of us - but not enough of us - wish and hope for a long, healthy life for the ambitious little company.
New Stage's young artistic director, Alan Patrick Kenny, has always had a talent for knowing good work and matching gifted performers to the material. And where musicals are concerned, he makes sure that they have the musical support they deserve. It's amazing what he accomplishes with a violin, cello, harp, bass and piano. (Kenny did the orchestral reduction.)
New Stage deserves a heartfelt goodbye, and bittersweet "Night Music" is a fitting, if unwelcome, end. There are occasional weaknesses in supporting performances, but never vocally. It all sounds thrilling under musical director Kenny.
See What I Wanna See:
Know Theatre scores an unqualified must-see in its regional premiere of Michael John LaChuisa's "See What I Wanna See." This sophisticated chamber musical challenges us, through five actors in three interweaving stories, to face ourselves and the questions that plague us. It tells us there's hope - and it's so smart throughout that it makes me believe.
Director Jason Bruffy delivers the drama - the starkly dramatic setting, the impassioned characterizations, but the triumph is just as much music director Alan Patrick Kenny's. He gets heart-lifting musical performances out of his cast and masters the complex score so that all that washes through us is its visceral emotional connection and lyricism.
"See What I Wanna See" is going to stand as a top entry in the alternative theater season and Know is positioning itself as a troupe to be reckoned with.
Arundel Barn Playhouse:
Through my summer of reviewing shows around Maine, I have been hard pressed to find a more talented musical director and group of musicians than Alan Patrick Kenny and his fine orchestra: Nick Allen (Bass), Nate Gowen (Drums) and Tony Michaud and Mike McCormack (alternating on guitar). They rise above technical limitation to present their instrumentals as much more than an accompaniment but rather another character in the show. And this is due to Mr. Kenny's wonderful direction and orchestrations throughout the summer.
Songs from an Unmade Bed:
If I were in New York’s theatre district and happened onto “Songs from an Unmade Bed” in a cabaret space or piano bar, I would be completely charmed.
The song cycle is by lyricist Mark Campbell, writing with 18 different composers, on a theme of love. It’s theatrical because the songs are written from the point-of-view of a young, gay Manhattanite who is, by turn, lonely, in love, wistful, hopeful, lusting and always someone you want to spend an hour with as Alan Patrick Kenny introduces us to the marvelous mind of Campbell.
Kenny, in navy T-shirt and blue-heart bedecked pajama bottoms and bunny slippers, sits at the piano and interprets Campbell’s smart, honest and very often wry songs with plenty of fine support by cellist Brodie Johnson and percussionist Fletcher Kaufman.
Our hero sings about what we all feel – lives that are sometimes drab, memories and emotions called up when we find ourselves on the street where a lost love lived, the reality when a new love looks better with clothes on than off (but it’s still love), the comings and goings that are part of the search for permanence.
The melodies are large and small, easy and complex, playful and filled with surprises. Campbell loves words – somehow, in a song about the yearning for refeeling those lightning bolt feelings of first love, he manages to include “pharmaceutical,” “de-winterize” and “Zen” in the conversation. The cycle plays like a series of bright thoughts, nothing that’s belabored, by a fun-loving and hopeful spirit, drawn to finger-snappin’ groovy and lush, tender melancholy – and even the accordion.
We know Kenny as the producing artistic director of New Stage and as one of the best musical directors in town, and forget that he has a degree in vocal performance from New York University. He’s exactly right here as singer, actor and tour guide.
Alan Patrick Kenny is ideal in portraying the nameless character in this show. Even though he is almost constantly seated behind a piano accompanying himself, Mr. Kenny doesn't seem limited by this extra responsibility in acting out the many emotions of the role.
Through his body language, facial expressions and vocals, Kenny is able to wonderfully communicate the brokenhearted pain, comedic and biting sarcasm, and tenderness found within the material. His steady and pleasant vocals are delivered clearly throughout, and are just right for the songs.
Songs From An Unmade Bed is an entertaining show that challenges theatergoers by exploring the universal sacrifices and benefits of loving and giving ourselves to another, regardless of age, sexual preference, time or location. Alan Patrick Kenny gives a first-rate performance that is a comfortable fit for the material in every way.
Cincinnati Acclaim Award:
-Season’s Best Cabaret
Cincinnati Entertainment Award Nomination:
-Outstanding Alternative Show